Parade Magazine

DOWNTOWN ABBEY from A to Z Only in Parade Magazine

As season four of Downton Abbey kicks off this Sunday on PBS’s Masterpiece, Parade offers an obsessive tour of the blockbuster show’s beloved characters, customs, and costumes—from A (American Heiresses) to Z (some of the best Zingers from Maggie Smith’s Dowager Countess Violet). Here is just a sampling of the more surprising facts included on the list:

F is for FOOD: Downton’s dinner table has hosted many pivotal scenes. Because the dishes must hold up under hot lights, anything sugar- or cream-based is out, as is fish (which the cast discovered the hard way, Parade reports).

K is for KING TUTANKHAMUN: The Egyptian ruler has a connection to Highclere Castle, owned by the Earl and Countess of Carnarvon, where the show is filmed. His tomb was discovered in 1922 by the fifth Earl of Carnarvon and a colleague, and Highclere houses replicas of items found there. Although this history won’t intersect with Downton’s story line, “everybody [on set] talks about the house being haunted,” says Shirley MacLaine, who plays Lady Cora’s mother.

Y is for YORK PRISON: Bates spent much of season three here after being falsely convicted of murdering his first wife. Those scenes were filmed at Lincoln Castle in Lincoln, used as the city’s court and prison for 900 years and home to one of only four surviving copies of the Magna Carta.

For 23 more fascinating Downton facts, including the direction cocreator Julian Fellowes took with season four’s finale, go to or check out Sunday’s Parade.

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The Parade Exclusive–Ben Stiller: The Personal Journey That Changed His Life

Ben Stiller both stars in and directs his new film The Secret Life of Walter Mitty, which reinvents James Thurber’s classic short story of an ordinary man with an extraordinary imagination. In the film, Stiller’s Mitty embarks on a globe-trotting adventure that trumps anything in his daydreams. Inspired by his character’s epic trek, Stiller shared with Parade some of his own very personal, life-altering expeditions. Below, a few excerpts:

Father, Son, and The Holy Land

“My dad [actor Jerry Stiller] and I took a father-son bonding trip to Israel when I was about 16…We ended up diving in the Red Sea together…I met a girl on that trip and we had a whirlwind romance. Is it blasphemous to say we ended up making out near the Western Wall? It might be. But we did…It was one of those times you don’t ever forget.”

Failure is an Option

“Back in 1996 I directed a movie called The Cable Guy, starring Jim Carrey. It was a great creative experience but the movie was a big flop…And then a couple of years later I was in a movie that did well, There’s Something About Mary, and I knew that if people weren’t calling me as a director, I was fortunate enough to be able to work as an actor. It was good to have the Cable Guy experience before that success; it wasn’t that I just came out of the gate and everything was great…”

Finding The One

“ I proposed to Christine [actress Christine Taylor] when I was rehearsing Meet the Parents…I asked her father for permission before I did it…It was like Meet the Parents in real life, because Christine’s father is an intimidating guy who owns a security company; we’re good friends now, but at the time I was in the basement rec room saying, ‘I really would like to marry your daughter…’ He’s a man of few words but he was very welcoming. I was more nervous asking him than asking her…[Christine and my] relationship was a gradual thing that happened over a quick period of time, maybe seven or eight months. We just started hanging out with each other and it developed into, ‘Wow, this feels great. I really like this person. I think I love this person. I really do – I love this person.’ It hit me out of the blue.”

Baby on Board

“When your wife is pregnant for nine months, you get used to the idea of pregnancy. Obviously, you know where it’s leading, but it almost becomes this abstract idea; and then suddenly the next time you go back to the house, you have another person living with you. Who you’ve just met. Your child…I was thinking moment to moment: Just get her from the baby carrier to the crib…It’s a short distance but a huge change…My kids are 11 and 8 now, and I can see aspects of myself in them but I also see two totally unique individuals. And I wonder how they became so well adjusted!”

Check out Sunday’s Parade for more on Ben Stiller’s life-changing events, or  go online here.

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Parade Exclusive: Emma Thompson on Family, Fame, and 6 Months of Bad Hair

Oscar winner Emma Thompson spends an afternoon in her London home with Parade, chatting about glamour, love, fame, and six months of bad-hair days. She appears in the new film Saving Mr. Banks, based on Walt Disney’s campaign to convince Mary Poppins author P.L. Travers (played by Thompson) to let him make a musical about her magical governess creation. In it, she stars for the first time with fellow Oscar winner Tom Hanks, who plays Walt Disney. Some excerpts from the story, below:

On her prim and proper 60s look in Saving Mr. Banks, which required her to get her hair permed:

“It was a nightmare! People would bleat in the streets as I went by. I didn’t have sex for six months!”

On working with Tom Hanks:

“… For a long time we’d looked for something to do together. [After reading the script] I rang Tom and said, ‘This is great, because it’s not a romance. It’s about a battle that they both win and lose. It’s perfect.’”

On her anger and depression when her first marriage, to Kenneth Branagh, ended in divorce:

“I don’t feel anger or depression about it now. I think we place a lot of pressure on ourselves and our relationships. … Yes, it was very painful, but it was also something that happens between people a lot. Sometimes things go wrong and it doesn’t last, and that seems to me perfectly reasonable.”

On her dowdy appearance when she first started acting:

“I marched onto the Johnny Carson show [doing publicity for Howards End] wearing a shapeless dress and flat shoes. I looked like a geography teacher. In my 20s, I eschewed everything overtly female. I didn’t have a handbag; I’d carry a plastic bag. … It’s only recently that I’ve even bothered with glamour because it seemed like a fun idea.”

On the importance of her costume while playing Sybill in the Harry Potter films:

“I had great fun doing Sybill. The genius of that costume—the wig and the glasses—I mean, Barack Obama could have played her. I did a silly voice, but really it was that costume.”

On why so many of her films touch on the subject of love:

“Partly because it’s one of the major areas in which women are allowed to take part. It’s not as if I’ve got the same kind of choices as Brad Pitt in filmmaking. But also because love is the only thing that matters. Not just romantic love … there’s affection, Eros, family love … It’s exactly what we’re designed to do.”

For more on Parade’s afternoon with Emma Thompson, see Sunday’s issue.

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Shirley MacLaine Says She and Maggie Smith ‘Talk About Our Lives, Our Past, Our Lovers’

  In a candid interview with, legendary actress Shirley MacLaine opened up about her role on season 4 of Downton Abbey, bonding on set with Maggie Smith, and her latest book, What If…A Lifetime of Questions, Speculations, Reasonable Guesses, and a Few Things I Know for Sure.

We all loved the dynamic between you and Maggie Smith in Downton Abbey last season. Can we expect more of the same in season 4?
“Oh yes! We have another little gunfight at the O.K. Corral in this new one. In fact, I think it’s a little bit more intense…You know, Maggie and I have known each other for 40 years, so we sit around and talk about our lives, our past, our lovers, our attitude towards fame.”

Do you watch Downton Abbey?
“[Yes]. I was so shocked last year—when Matthew got killed in the car crash, I couldn’t believe it! I jumped out of bed and tried to call Julian Fellowes. You know, ‘What’s going on here?’ I was so stunned. I think it had to do with the schedule—nobody knew it until the very end!”

Do you have any advice for young stars like Miley Cyrus or Taylor Swift on how to handle fame?
“Yeah—cool it. [Their antics] influence the response to their actual work. They’re good musicians and they’re good with translating music into lyrics, into expression. But all we think of is what they do antic-wise…they’ve become a product.”

Do you ever grow weary when people call you a legend with a capital ‘L’? Do you see yourself that way?

“Absolutely not. Icon, legend—I don’t know what they’re talking about. I’m still living in reality, like, what time is my lunch coming? No, I don’t relate to that other at all—really, I don’t. I don’t understand when people kind of bow to my past or to my resume.”

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Parade Exclusive with Photographer Terry O’Neill: ‘Ava Gardner, Liz Taylor, Audrey Hepburn Didn’t Know They Were Beautiful

Terry O’Neill, one the world’s most admired and important photographers, has been creating unforgettable images since he first photographed the Beatles and the Rolling Stones when they were unknowns. In a candid interview with, O’Neill opened up about his extraordinary career, his thoughts on the paparazzi, and surprising details about some of his most famous photo subjects.Ava Gardner, Marilyn Monroe, Lana Turner

Here are the highlights:

You’ve photographed some of the greatest movie beauties. Do beautiful women, like Ava Gardner, know they’re beautiful?
“No. Beautiful women see all their flaws, not their assets. I said to Ava, ‘You are definitely the most beautiful of women.’ She said, ‘Oh, shut up.’ I said to Michelle Pfeiffer one day, ‘You’re stunning!’ She said, ‘Oh, don’t be silly.’ Liz Taylor wouldn’t have it, either. She never believed it. Audrey Hepburn didn’t. You tell them that they’re beautiful, but they just don’t see it. But, of course, when you get to know them, like when you’re married to them, all the lust wears off and you’re face to face with [just] a human being.

“[The actresses of the ’50s] were better than today. Ava Gardner, Lana Turner, Marilyn Monroe, all of them were stunning. Now, they all seem the same. The only one who really stands out is Angelina Jolie, a different class of girl altogether. She’s a stunning, beautiful woman, a rarity, though.”

Your reputation rests on your ability to capture famous people as they truly are, like your early portraits of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones.
“Neither group was famous then. I took the Beatles first newspaper picture [in 1963, with the release of their first album, Please Please Me]. It sold out the newspaper. The group I liked was the Rolling Stones. [The newspaper editors] thought the Stones look like prehistoric monsters. I photographed them. It was the start of pop pictures in newspapers.”

Did you become friends with the Beatles and the Stones?
“Yes. Back in the ’60s we used to talk about what jobs we were going to get when all this was over. We were all convinced it was never going to last. It was incredible. We couldn’t believe you got money for doing what you loved doing. The Beatles used to be up all day, like normal people. But later they were all living at night and sleeping during the day, because they’re taking drugs and they’re out of it. It was a joke. Drugs are the biggest bloody sickness in the world. It’s caused havoc with everything.”

You photographed singer Amy Winehouse shortly before her death two years ago.
“I was really shocked when Amy died. She was one of the very few people I ever wanted to photograph. I thought this girl had a talent to be a really great jazz singer, not pop singer. Drugs and drink are a major disaster. I don’t know why people can’t handle it.”

You had a relationship with Martha Stewart.
“I’ve never met a more wonderful woman in my life, but I met her too soon after I broke up with Faye. Martha treated me like a king. And I couldn’t believe it. She was so kind to me. It was all too much. I just wasn’t used to it. One day I couldn’t take it. I just wanted to get away and breathe for a while on my own.”

Is she controlling?
“No, not at all. I thought, ‘What a perfect wife she’d be.’ It was that I’d just come out of a bad marriage [to Dunaway]. That was the problem. And I ran. I waited until Martha went out, and I got the car [from her Connecticut estate] to the airport and went home. I didn’t even talk to her for a couple of months. I was ashamed. I never said goodbye. I just didn’t know how to deal with it. I behaved badly.

For more on photographer, Terry O’Neill, go to the

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Parade Interview: Mindy Kaling on Life, Celebrity…and the Downside

This Sunday, Parade visits Mindy Kaling, the force behind TV’s The Mindy Project, at her Los Angeles home. Although the currently single 34-year-old is working overtime as the creator, head writer, and star of her show, she takes a break to open up to the magazine about her design philosophy (“I’m a ‘more is more’ person”), her personal and family life, the attention paid to her appearance, and the downside of being the boss. Below, some excerpts from the interview:

On the importance of knowing how to cook:

“You go to someone’s house for a home-cooked meal and you think, ‘Oh, I get it—the most attractive you can be, male or female, is if you cook.’ If I had a boyfriend who cooked for me, that’d be it. I would never stray.”

On Fox green-lighting her show’s pilot on the same day her mother died of pancreatic cancer:

“It was like a gift from God or my mom. I think she was giving me something so I didn’t have to get crushed under the weight of my grief.”

On standing out in the white male-dominated comedy world:

“There are little Indian girls out there who look up to me, and I never want to belittle the honor of being an inspiration to them. But while I’m talking about why I’m so different, white male show runners get to talk about their art.”

On the attention paid to her appearance:

“I always get asked, ‘Where do you get your confidence?’ I think people are well meaning, but it’s pretty insulting. Because what it means to me is, ‘You, Mindy Kaling, have all the trappings of a very marginalized person. You’re not skinny, you’re not white, you’re a woman. Why on earth would you feel like you’re worth anything?’”

On having a TV show to produce and a staff to manage:

“I love being the boss, but it’s lonelier because you know that everyone at some point has huge complaints about you. And I like to be part of the gang, you know?”

See Mindy at Home! Go behind the scenes of Parade’s photo shoot with Mindy at her Spanish-style abode

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Parade Interview: What Tom Hanks Learned From the Real Capt. Phillips–The Making of a Hero

What makes a hero? This Sunday, Parade pursuesthat question with Capt. Richard Phillips, who was heralded for his heroic actions after Somali pirates attacked his ship, the Maersk Alabama, in April 2009, and actor Tom Hanks, who plays him in the riveting film Captain Phillips, based on his ordeal. The two men spoke to Parade about bravery, fear, and the challenges of portraying a real-life incident onscreen. Some excerpts follow:

On the challenge of turning real-life events into films:

Tom Hanks: “By and large, the making of motion picture is all about ‘Let’s ratchet it up.’ And I always think, ‘We don’t need to ratchet this up.’ If you do, don’t call it Captain Phillips or The Maersk Alabama. Call it something else, and then you have carte blanche to do anything, down to sea serpents and aliens.”

On whether Hanks thinks everyone has the ability to rise to the occasion:

Hanks: “Not everybody, no. Some people are cowards. … I think by and large a third of people are villains, a third are cowards, and a third are heroes. Now, a villain and a coward can choose to be a hero, but they’ve got to make that choice.”

On whether an actor has a special responsibility attached to playing a real person:

Hanks: “I think so. A lot of times it’s not just within your hands; you have to see eye to eye with the filmmaker on a basic philosophy. I think it’s important not to redefine somebody’s motivations. [In a movie] you have to have people do or say things they never did or said, and be in places they never were. But you can take that to an extreme where it’s not really why this person does what he does, and that’s the key. You’ve got to be a journalist and a historian and a filmmaker all at the same time.”

On the actors who portray the Somali pirates:

Hanks: “The actors who play them all live in Minneapolis, you know. They’re part of a Somali community up there. When I met them, I never felt more like an out-of-shape, middle-aged white man in my life [laughs].”

On Captain Phillips’s reluctance to being labeled a hero, and whether he now thinks he had heroic moments:

Capt. Phillips: “Oh, for me, it was my job. You take the paycheck, you do the job. As captain, you get all the blame, pretty much, and in this situation all the recognition, when it was 19 of my crew who were involved in it also. I’ve been more scared on ships. I’ve had a fire in the engine room where I thought I had dead engineers. I’ve been through hurricanes. I feel glad that I didn’t lose any of my crew [on the Maersk Alabama].”

Hanks: “I have never met someone who did a heroic thing who didn’t say, ‘I was just doing my job.’”

On whether Phillips thought that when he went to sea, a pirate attack was a possibility:

Phillips: “Oh, yeah. I always told my crew it wasn’t a matter of if, it was a matter of when.”

On what they hope people will take away from the movie:

Hanks: “I would say that Rich puts this incredibly well: You can always try to do something. Keep moving forward. Keep trying stuff.”

Phillips: “Nothing is over until you choose to give up.”

Tom Hanks talks about recreating real-life events in Apollo 13 and the filming tip he received from Matt Damon at

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Robin Williams on Returning To TV, Getting Sober and Downsizing in His 60s

Parade visits Robin Williams, who is returning to TV in his first series since he gained fame in Mork & Mindy more than 30 years ago. The beloved actor, 62, plays an unorthodox adman in CBS’s The Crazy Ones (starting Sept. 26), co-starring Sarah Michelle Gellar as his daughter and ad agency partner. “We needed an actor who could convey genius, insanity, and comedy, tempered with humanity,” says series creator David E. Kelley (Ally McBeal). “Robin was the first and only choice.”

Here are some excerpts from the wide-ranging interview:

On what it’s like being back on TV:

“It’s fun. I’m having such a blast doing it with Sarah. She’s a sweet woman. And the idea of a father-daughter relationship—since I have a daughter, I’ve done the research on that.”

On why this was the right time to return after 31 years:

“The idea of having a steady job is appealing. I have two [other] choices: go on the road doing stand-up, or do small, independent movies working almost for scale [minimum union pay]. The movies are good, but a lot of times they don’t even have distribution. There are bills to pay. My life has downsized, in a good way. I’m selling the ranch up in Napa. I just can’t afford it anymore.”

On whether he lost all his money in his two divorces:

“Well, not all. Lost enough. Divorce is expensive. I used to joke they were going to call it ‘all the money,’ but they changed it to ‘alimony.’ It’s ripping your heart out through your wallet. Are things good with my exes? Yes. But do I need that lifestyle? No.”

On whether he felt betrayed by Lance Armstrong, who had been a friend:

“It wasn’t just Lance. [Most of the] team was doping. I haven’t seen him since one of the last Livestrong benefits, I think just before the Oprah interview. It was literally like a wake for someone who was still alive, this overall feelingthat the dream was over.”

On relapsing into drinking, 20 years after getting sober, while filming The Big White:

“One day I walked into a store and saw a little bottle of Jack Daniel’s. And then that voice—I call it the ‘lower power’—goes, ‘Hey. Just a taste. Just one.’ I drank it, and there was that brief moment of ‘Oh, I’m okay!’ But it escalated so quickly. Within a week, I was buying so many bottles I sounded like a wind chime walking down the street. I knew it was really bad one Thanksgiving when I was so drunk they had to take me upstairs.”

On his family intervening to get him into rehab in 2006:

“It was not an intervention so much as an ultimatum. Everyone kind of said, ‘You’ve got to do this.’ And I went, ‘Yeah, you’re right.’”

On why he’s done USO tours for our troops:

“I do those because it’s like the real version of Good Morning, Vietnam, meeting people and seeing what I can do to help. They’re the best audiences I’ve ever had. The most powerful experience is visiting the wounded in hospitals. A friend of mine’s doing a program in San Francisco at a veterans’ hospital, getting them to do improv comedy as therapy. And it’s really helping. Comedy can be a cathartic way to deal with personal trauma.”

On whether, looking back, he has regrets:

“No. Regrets don’t help.”

For more from Robin Williams check out Sunday’s Parade, or go to

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Two and a Half Men’s Holland Taylor: ‘I’ve Suffered Depression’: A Parade Magazine Exclusive

Two and a Half Men’s Holland Taylor has gone back to her theater roots with her one-woman play Ann, which has earned her a Tony nomination. In a candid interview with, Taylor opened up about her struggle with depression, why the late Ann Richards would have thought Angelina Jolie was “the bomb,” how former costar Charlie Sheen’s Hollywood upbringing shaped his life, and more.

Here are the highlights:

You often play strong, buoyant, confident women, like Judge Kittelson on The Practice or Gov. Ann Richards in your play. You seem very self-confident, never self-doubting.
“Well, I’ve suffered depression. From my early 40s into my mid-50s.”

How bad was it?
“Bad enough for me to entertain the idea of going into a hospital. I actually wasn’t a danger to myself, but I really sometimes wondered how I could get out of the house to go get food. I was on antidepressants for over 15 years, with very intermittent counseling. It was a very dead period of my life. Antidepressants take away the lows but they also reduce the highs. And for me, over a long period of time, they didn’t really work. So I quit taking them, and my life has been afire since then.”

Ann Richards was transparent about the things she wanted to share, like Angelina Jolie was in opening up about her double mastectomy.
“I think what Angelina Jolie is doing is right up Ann Richards’ street. I was dazzled by it, and I thought it was a wonderful sharing, and just fantastically wonderful for thousands of people who are going through that. I think the world of Angelina Jolie, and infinitely more now, because that was really a dazzling, generous effort on her part. Ann Richards would just think that was the bomb.”

What do you think of Charlie Sheen’s replacement on Two and a Half Men, Ashton Kutcher?
“He’s very charming. Very affable and smart. But I’ve hardly been exposed to him at all.”

And what about Charlie Sheen?
“Anybody who’s spent time with Charlie likes him. He’s as smart a person as you’ll ever find.”

He sometimes hasn’t behaved like he’s smart.
“He grew up with a movie star father [Martin Sheen] who was gallivanting around the world. [Today] Martin is a big AA person and very public about it. But back in the day, Martin was a young, crazy, brilliant talent—always gone, always traveling, sometimes bringing his kids along. It was just a madhouse way [for Charlie] to grow up. And then Charlie himself was a teenage movie star with hundreds of thousands of dollars in his pocket at any given moment. It sounds great to a lot of people, but it’s not that easy to mature and to have a regular life.”

Read more here from our friends at Parade Magazine

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Michael J. Fox Turned to Alcohol to Cope With Illness

Michael J. Fox discovered he had Parkinson’s disease in 1991 and confesses he turned to alcohol to drown his sorrows.

He tells Parade magazine, “For a time I dealt with it with alcohol, which turned out to be a disaster. I’d always been kind of a partier, but this was the first time I was drinking in order not to feel something. It had a dark purpose.”

The actor eventually quit drinking for good and now Fox credits his wife of 23-years, Tracy Pollan, with helping him get sober.

He continues, “About a year after my diagnosis, I woke up one morning and saw (wife) Tracy’s face…She said, ‘Is this what you want?’ Instantly I knew – no, this isn’t what I want or who I am. So I quit drinking in ’92.

“I recognized I had choices about drinking, and that made me realize I had choices about Parkinson’s as well… Acceptance doesn’t mean resignation; it means understanding that something is what it is and that there’s got to be a way through it.”

Fox has been a longtime Parkinson’s disease advocate and in 2000 he founded The Michael J. Fox Foundation, which funds research programs in the hopes of finding a cure.